THE FORSYTE SAGA Among Upcoming DVD/Blu-ray Releases From Acorn Media

Leading British specialist Acorn Media announces upcoming DVDs/Blu-rays including several must-see, brand new series as well as the first complete collection of Masterpiece Theatre favorite and addictive costume drama THE FORSYTE SAGA starring Damian Lewis (Homeland).

New series include the DVD debut of INJUSTICE, a psychological thriller from the creator of Foyle’s War and starring James Purefoy (Rome); the DVD debut of the critically-acclaimed Monty Python-inspired film HOLY FLYING CIRCUS; the Australian miniseries CLOUDSTREET based on Tim Winton’s best-selling novel; and the star-studded WWII miniseries THE SINKING OF THE LACONIA; as well as required viewing for any fan of British television, THE STORY OF THE COSTUME DRAMA (U.S. Debut), a five-part, star-studded behind-the-scenes documentary available as a 2-disc set or as part of THE COSTUME DRAMA CLASSIC COLLECTION, a value priced set with four celebrated Masterpiece Theatre series plus the documentary.

Additionally, Acorn has the DVD debut of Revolutionary War-era romp THE KENT CHRONICLES starring William Shatner, Kim Cattrall, and Don Johnson; M.R. James’s classic tale CASTING THE RUNES; the U.S. Debut of a YOUNG JAMES HERRIOT; the final episodes of GARROW’S LAW; and Series 6 of Agatha Christie’s POIROT guest starring Damian Lewis in his second acting role.

Documentary specialist Athena features the U.S. debuts of James May’S 20th CENTURY and MEGACITIES, as well as the DVD debuts of CRISIS AT THE CASTLE and BILL MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME.

Acorn Media (British TV) and Athena (Best Documentaries) DVD Release Calendar:

July 17th: James May’S 20th CENTURY (U.S. debut), the Top Gear host explores the innovations that made the modern era; M.R. James’s CASTING THE RUNES (DVD Debut), offers a classic tale of mystery and the supernatural from the father of the modern ghost story; and BILL MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME, called “TV’s most comprehensive look ever at addiction and recovery” (San Francisco Chronicle).

July 31:
THE STORY OF THE COSTUME DRAMA (U.S. Debut) – Required viewing for any fan of British television, this captivating new documentary tells the stories behind iconic productions with stars and scenes from Brideshead Revisited; I, Claudius; Upstairs, Downstairs; Pride and Prejudice; The Jewel in the Crown; Poldark; Doctor Zhivago; and many more. The first episode aired on PBS stations in spring 2012; however, Acorn is releasing the complete five-episode series on DVD. Narrated by star Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes; Upstairs Downstairs), these five episodes give an inside look beyond the ornate clothing, sprawling manors, and addictive story lines that have riveted millions of television viewers for decades.

THE COSTUME DRAMA CLASSIC COLLECTION – Representing the finest of the captivating costume drama genre with sumptuous costumes, lavish sets, and addictive plots, this set features four celebrated, star-studded Masterpiece Theatre period dramas PLUS The Story of the Costume Drama documentary listed above. The value-priced 15-disc collection includes more than 36 hours of star-studded programming, including Doctor Zhivago, the 2002 adaptation starring Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean, Atonement); Lillie, the BAFTA-winning 1978 drama with Francesca Annis (Wives and Daughters, Cranford); Lost Empires, starring Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) in a coming-of-age story from 1986; and Upstairs, Downstairs, Series 1, the iconic British drama’s original 1971-1972 series. (15-disc, $99.99)

THE KENT CHRONICLES (DVD Debut) – Three historical miniseries (The Bastard, The Rebels, and The Seekers) featuring William Shatner, Kim Cattrall, Don Johnson, Patricia Neal, George Hamilton, Delta Burke, and Tom Bosley. Chronicling the saga of the Kent family in early America, the star-studded Revolution-era romp is based on the bestselling novels by John Jakes (North and South), the “godfather of the historical novel.” The miniseries follow the fortunes of a young Frenchman (Andrew Stevens, Dallas) as he immigrates to America during the Revolutionary War and crosses paths with historical heavyweights including Paul Revere (William Shatner), Benjamin Franklin (Tom Bosley, Happy Days), Samuel Adams (William Daniels, St. Elsewhere), and George Washington (Peter Graves, Mission: Impossible). Nominated for two Emmys® and a Golden Globe®. Broadcast in the late 1970s.

August 7:
THE SINKING OF THE LACONIA (DVD Debut) – “The best bit of drama on the BBC in 20 years”(The Independent) – New, gripping WWII tale with an outstanding cast offers a harrowing true story of heroism, heartbreak, and unexpected humanity during the midst of World War II. Seen on Ovation Network’s “The Best You’ve Never Seen” premieres in spring of 2012, the miniseries features Ken Duken (Inglourious Basterds), Andrew Buchan (Garrow’s Law), Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity, Run Lola Run), Lindsay Duncan (Rome) and Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy). In September 1942 at the height of the battle for the Atlantic, a German U-boat torpedoed the RMS Laconia, sinking the British ship without knowing that it carried more than 2,000 passengers, many of them civilians. BONUS: Documentary featurette, “The Sinking of the Laconia: Survivors’ Stories” (29 min.)

GARROW’S LAW, SERIES 3 (U.S. Debut) – “BBC period drama at its very best” (British Heritage) – Conclusion of the acclaimed British legal drama ripped from the pages of history. Seen on BBC and PBS. Award-winning series stars Andrew Buchan (The Sinking of the Laconia, Cranford) as virtuous barrister William Garrow, a man unafraid to confront the injustices of the 18th century English legal system. Series also stars Alun Armstrong (Little Dorrit, New Tricks), Rupert Graves (Sherlock, The Forsyte Saga) and Lyndsey Marshal (Rome, Being Human, The Hours).

August 14:
THE FORSYTE SAGA COLLECTION – “Stunning any way you look at it” (Vanity Fair) - Damian Lewis (Homeland, Band of Brothers, Life), Gina McKee (Notting Hill, The Borgias), Rupert Graves (Sherlock, Garrow’s Law), Ioan Gruffudd (Horatio Hornblower, Ringer), Julian Ovenden (Foyle’s War), and Corin Redgrave (Trial & Retribution) star in acclaimed literary adaptation. Value-priced complete collection includes footage not seen in the hit PBS broadcast. The two complete miniseries tell the story of a family bitterly divided by ambition, adultery, and revenge. Based on John Galsworthy’s epic Forsyte novels, the sumptuously addictive adaptations impressed critics and fans alike when they aired on PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre from 2003-2004 and were voted #2 on the list of viewers’ favorite programs of all time. The DVD 5-dics boxed set includes the complete unedited U.K. broadcast edition, featuring more than 20 minutes of Series 1 footage not included in the edited U.S. broadcast; as well as a bonus 20-minute making-of featurette.

August 21:
MEGACITIES (Athena, U.S. Debut) – “A must-see” (The Times) – Fascinating new BBC documentary looks at the future of urbanization and human habitation through five of the globe’s most populous cities. Filmed on location in five of the world’s largest cities in everything from sleek high-rises to swarming slums, and hosted by BAFTA-winning journalist Andrew Marr, Megacities explores how these metropolitan hubs define every aspect of their inhabitants’ daily lives. The documentary includes segments on London, U.K.; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Tokyo, Japan; Mexico City, Mexico; and Shanghai, China. Available to U.S. audiences for the first time, Megacities aired on BBC One in June 2011 but has not aired on U.S. television.

CRISIS AT THE CASTLE (Athena, DVD Debut) – Three grand homes—three big headaches – This dramatic exposé of the challenges of castle ownership follows the owners of the magnificent Sudley Castle, Burton Court, and Kelburn Castle as they are faced with pivotal decisions about how to preserve the family home in the face of rising costs, fading public attention and crumbling infrastructures. Seen on public television in 2007.

August 28:
INJUSTICE (DVD Debut) – “Cancel all plans this week - you won't want to miss this stylish thriller" (The Sun) – An exciting psychological thriller from the creator of Foyle’s War. James Purefoy (Rome, Episodes, and opposite Kevin Bacon on FOX’s forthcoming series The Following) leads a distinguished cast featuring Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel), Charlie Creed-Miles (Five Days), and Nathaniel Parker (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries) in this taut five-part thriller that merges legal drama, police investigation, and high-tension suspense in an atmosphere of moral ambiguity. Injustice was broadcast on ITV and DirecTV in 2011. Besides Foyle’s War, BAFTA-nominated screenwriter Anthony Horowitz’s other credits include Collison, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Midsomer Murders, the most recent Sherlock Holmes novel, The House of Silk, and the hit Alex Rider book series.

Agatha Christie’s POIROT, SERIES 6 (Blu-ray and DVD) – Sixth series of Agatha Christie’s beloved mysteries debuts on Blu-ray. Newly remastered and in original U.K. broadcast order. Seen on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery! and A&E. Starring David Suchet with guest star Damian Lewis (Homeland) in one of his first roles. Four feature-length episodes previously aired in 1995-96.

September 4:
CLOUDSTREET (DVD Debut) – “Handsome period drama” (Entertainment Weekly) – Adapted by Tim Winton from his award-winning novel, the acclaimed Australian miniseries is exquisitely filmed with an outstanding ensemble cast led by Kerry Fox (An Angel at My Table) and Essie Davis (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries). Broadcast on Ovation in April 2012 as part of their “The Best You’ve Never Seen” premieres, the miniseries was nominated for eight Australian Film Institute awards, including best miniseries. Set around Perth from 1943–1963, it tells the story of two rural families, each scarred by catastrophe, who end up sharing a large, ramshackle house that shudders and groans with memories of its own. The DVD 3-disc set includes all six-episodes and a bonus disc with five behind-the-scenes segments.

HOLY FLYING CIRCUS (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Debut) – “A-…Sharply written, hilariously profane ‘docudrama’” (Entertainment Weekly) – Offering a Pythonesque peek behind the scenes of one of the most notorious—and beloved—films from the legendary troupe, the fantastical docudrama was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Single Drama. This hilariously heretical docudrama reimagines the controversy behind Monty Python’s Life of Brian and the resulting debate pitting Michael Palin and John Cleese against a Church of England bishop and a staunchly Catholic broadcaster. Broadcast on the Ovation Network in April 2012 as part of their “The Best You’ve Never Seen” premieres, Holy Flying Circus is written by Oscar®-nominated writer Tony Roche (In the Loop) and stars Darren Boyd (Little Dorrit) as John Cleese, Charles Edwards (The Shell Seekers) as Michael Palin, Roy Marsden (P.D. James mysteries), Tom Fisher (The Illusionist), and Stephen Fry (Jeeves and Wooster) as God. Bonus features include deleted scenes, stills, and outtakes.

YOUNG JAMES HERRIOT (U.S. Debut) – “The ultimate in feel-good...dramas” (The Times) – New miniseries offers a fascinating look at the early life and education of a beloved British author and vet. This inspiring British drama unfolds against the backdrop of rising fascism in Europe and profound social change at home. But for young James Herriot, learning to become a veterinarian always came first. The three-part miniseries aired on the BBC in the U.K. in December 2011 but is available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its DVD release. Using his many years of veterinary experience, James Herriot wrote a series of books about animals and their owners and his bestselling books were the basis for the long-running BBC adaptation All Creatures Great and Small.

Late September-October:
From Acorn Media: The Crimson Petal and the White, New Tricks Season 8, Special Branch Set 1, Thomas & Sarah, Kidnap & Ransom Complete Series 1 & 2, Vexed Series 1, Waterloo Road Series 1, and The Complete Red Green Show
From Athena: Joseph Campbell: Mythos – The Complete Series, Understanding Art Impressionism, Brave New World, and Bill Moyers: A World of Ideas II

January – July 3, 2012 DVDs:
From Acorn: DOC MARTIN, Series 5 (DVD Debut); WASHINGTON: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (Home Video Debut); NEW TRICKS, Season 7 (DVD Debut); LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE (Long-awaited DVD Debut) starring Judi Dench; THE BEST OF FOYLE’S WAR; MIDSOMER MURDERS, Set 20 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray and DVD), John Nettles’ final episodes of the series; GEORGE GENTLY, Series 4 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray and DVD); MONROE, Series 1 (U. S. Debut); MURDOCH MYSTERIES, Season 4 (U.S. Debut, DVD/Blu-ray); I, CLAUDIUS: 35th Anniversary Edition (bonus packed with many previously unavailable extras); BBC’s TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (Now on Blu-ray); Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE TRILOGY; ABOVE SUSPICION, Set 1 (U.S. Debut), from the creator of Prime Suspect and starring Ciarán Hinds (Harry Potter); Agatha Christie’S POIROT Series 1-5 (Blu-ray debut, DVD); and POLDARK: The Complete Collection (Value-priced collection), a must-see for costume drama fans

From Athena: THE CODE (U.S. Debut); THIS IS CIVILIZATION (DVD Debut); TIME TEAM: UNEARTHING THE ROMAN INVASION (U.S. Debut); TREASURE HOUSES OF BRITAIN (DVD Debut); IN THEIR OWN WORDS (Athena, U.S. Debut) includes J. R.R. Tolkien, Sigmund Freud, George Orwell, Jane Goodall, Salman Rushdie, Evelyn Waugh, Margaret Mead, and the only surviving voice recording of Virginia Woolf; SECRET WAR (DVD Debut); BATTLEFIELD DETECTIVES (Athena, DVD Debut); BILL MOYERS: CAPITOL CRIMES; and THE WINDSORS (U.S. Debut, Athena).

About Acorn Media:
Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., Acorn Media U.S. releases the best of British television on DVD/Blu-ray. 2012 releases include a bonus packed collector’s edition of I, Claudius; the Blu-ray debuts for the original Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the first six series of Agatha Christie’s Poirot; the U.S. debuts of Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion and Monroe starring James Nesbitt; DVD debut of Judi Dench in Love in a Cold Climate; The Best of Foyle’s War; The Story of Costume Drama; Damian Lewis in The Forsyte Saga Collection; and more episodes from Midsomer Murders, Murdoch Mysteries, Doc Martin, George Gently, and Garrow’s Law.